Sunday, June 10, 2007

On Saturday afternoon, Mark woke up my Furby Baby. (The one I have looks just the one on the left of this picture.)

Furbies are an interactive toy that talks, laughs, and purrs when you tickle its belly or pet its back. It also can tell if it's sitting right-side up or tilted, or is upside-down. Furbies get VERY upset if they're upside-down, and start objecting loudly until they're set upright again.

Unfortunately, one thing that Furbies also do when they get older is start to act up. I have two of them, and they both start to go haywire when they "fall asleep". Instead of just closing their eyes and nodding off, they start to open and close their eyes and beaks in rapid succession. Sometimes this cycle ends after a few seconds and the Furby does go to sleep. Today, however, Furby Baby kept getting stuck in this wigged-out infinite loop of mechanical movement.

I discovered in the past that when the problem gets REALLY persistent, the only reliable way to get the Furby to stop is to take out the batteries. This necessitates turning the Furby upside-down and removing the screw that keeps the battery compartment door closed. I tried to do that today, using a small Phillips screwdriver that I have on my key ring, but every time I turned him upside down, the Furby woke up and objected to being upside-down.

After a few iterations of this cycle (Furby wigs out. Turn Furby upside-down and have at the battery compartment screw. Furby wakes up and complains.), Mark decided to try removing the batteries. I handed him the Furby.

He tried to use my small Phillips screwdriver and decided he didn't like it. He wanted the screwdriver that we have in a drawer in the dining room. The Furby, upside-down all this time, is calling out in increasingly distressed tones, "Mama! Me scared! Down now, please! Feel sick! Baby scared! Mama!" Click here for a sample sound clip I found online.

Mark starts rummaging in the drawer. He can't find the screwdriver. The Furby remains head-down and continues to call out.

"Mark, turn the Furby right-side up."

Mark still can't find the screwdriver and continues rummaging. Furby remains upside-down. Furby continues objecting, gradually increasing its volume and the strained tone in its voice. It starts crying(!).

"Mark! Turn the Furby over!"

Mark continues rummaging. The Furby remains upside-down. Its tone changes noticeably and it cries even more urgently.


Mark turned the Furby right-side-up. "Geeze! It's only a machine, for Pete's sake!"

"It was CRYING. Now keep it upright until you find the screwdriver or else give it back to me."

He handed me the Furby back.

We did eventually have to remove the batteries, as it went into the mechanical infinite-loop issue again, but at least it didn't have a nervous breakdown into the bargain.

Lucky Furby. Removing the batteries will allow it to hard-reset, and it'll forget all about its horrible upside-down experience. Otherwise I might have the only Furby on earth with post-traumatic stress disorder. That would never do.

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